In the wise words of golf legend Gary Player, “The harder you practice, the luckier you get.” It’s no secret that practice and performance go hand in hand, and when it comes to golf, PGA professionals will tell you the most important part of practice is perfecting your short game. Putting is one aspect of the short game that tends to be remarkably difficult even for seasoned veterans. At Celebrity Greens of Phoenix, we know that more time you put into improving your putting and chipping, the better your golf game will be. We put together this recipe for success with three key ingredients you can apply that are sure to sharpen your skills.
Learn to Read the Green
Yes, some players are better at reading the green than others, but it’s not magic – it’s mental. It may be tricky at first, but there are ways to train your mind to see what is important. Once you have learned what you are looking for, those subtle slopes won’t be a problem.
The most basic detail to consider when reading greens is water. When course designers map out greens, a key component they keep in mind is drainage. They want to create a course that will dry as quickly as possible. During your next tee time, scope out the location of the drains. Ponds and lakes are good indicators of natural runoffs. When you find where the drains are stationed, you can typically determine the direction of the slope.
If you can’t find the drain, you can do a few quick tests to find curves in the landscape. Try reading a few of your practice shots by aiming at a marker, like a coin or a tee, from 10-feet away. You will probably be able to see if the ball moves to the right or left, but what you really want to know is how far it moves from your target. Take a few more strokes, this time aiming your ball past the marker. Look closely and imagine where the ball will roll. After watching a few times you should be able to spot the break.
Perfect the Stroke
A good stroke is a relaxed stroke. There are a few different ways to grip the putter, but the important part is to know your dominant hand and to relax your shoulders. Let your fingers be your main grip; they will help you steer the ball. To achieve the perfect stroke, swing with your shoulders – not with your wrist. Practice swinging your body in a pendulum motion with your shoulders while you putt. For an easy way to get into the habit, watch this video where PGA teaching professional Martin Hejger demonstrates how you can test the pendulum motion by placing a club across your chest and holding it underneath your arms as you swing.
Let the Good Times Roll
Developing distance control becomes somewhat of a sixth sense for the professionals, but for amateurs, it can be difficult to gage. The key is to roll the ball gently instead of hitting it. When the ball rolls smoothly, it’s easier to control distance. You’ll be able to roll the ball better if you are using proper form. We recommend taking an open stance and letting your weight fall on the side closest to the hole. Try not to arc your stroke. The further forward you lean, the more fluid your roll will be.
It takes hard work and dedication to reach peak perfection with your short game. There is no better place to put in the time it takes to achieve greatness than in the privacy of your own home. At Celebrity Greens® in Phoenix, our skilled installers design custom putting greens to fit your needs. Our synthetic lawn applications look and feel just like natural grass, but without the maintenance. Take your putting game to the next level and contact us to schedule your evaluation today.